The sales tool for fast-growing businesses – interview with Pipedrive Co-founder Timo Rein

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Founded in 2010, Pipedrive is a sales management tool with big ambitions, and one of Estonia’s biggest startup success stories. The software of the Tallinn- and New York-based company visualises your sales pipeline and helps to make sure important activities and conversations won’t get lost. Salespeople tend to like it because it’s easy to use and intuitive. Pipedrive’s CEO Timo Rein was recently in Berlin and we had a chance to interview him.

What is Pipedrive and how did it all start?

Pipedrive is the leading sales platform for ambitious, fast-scaling businesses. It’s the easiest way to visualize sales process and follow-up with the right activities, so the sales team’s efforts become more effective and the closing rate increases.

Back in 2010, me and my co-founder, both seasoned sales managers, realized that the CRM landscape was populated by software designed to please the top brass while ignoring the needs of the people doing the actual selling. So we partnered with talented developers to create a CRM that puts the needs of salespeople first.

Why is it better than similar CRM tools?

We define ourselves as a Sales CRM platform. Our solution is built on a proven selling framework that gives visibility into the pipeline and drives actions that push deals to close efficiently and consistently.

Unlike most CRM software, Pipedrive is designed to help salespeople rather than control them. Our vision is already working in daily business, which is supported by our award-winning technology: For example Pipedrive won the Best Enterprise SaaS B2B Startup Award, 2017 SalesTech Award and we have been the 10 Best CRM Award winner 2017.

With more than 250 employees split in different locations, how do you support corporate culture and how do you make sure employees stay happy and motivated?

Actually, we’ve been growing and already have more than 300 employees in over 25 countries. I believe a culture doesn’t come from talking about it, it comes from each individual being themselves and finding people who align with the company’s character.
That is why we put a lot of emphasis on culture at every stage of the employee journey: from hiring – I personally talk to every single candidate – to performance reviews and career conversations and ultimately exit discussion. We also have monthly company updates and a yearly company get together.

While we obviously place a premium on being happy and motivated, it is equally important that potential employees share our core value: Don’t spoil someone else’s day. We believe that it takes great people to deliver a great product.

Can you show some real examples how to automate sales processes?

Whether you’re looking for increased automation, enhanced reporting or want Pipedrive to work with other software our users are already using, there is bound to be an integration or add-on that meets their needs.

Pipedrive’s API, which is available to all our users, allows them to easily connect with other software. And we just released our marketplace, a unified solution for third party development partners to build complementary tools and a one-stop-shop for customers to easily manage various integrations apps based on their changing business needs.

Pipedrive wants to tackle the growing complexity of keeping focus in sales management by offering a robust arsenal of tools from marketing automation to tracking documentation and e-signatures that help customers run their day-to-day business and focus their time and attention on what matters most: their sales.

The opportunities are endless, and with a massive range of integrations available, the way to use the platform is only limited by imagination. Right now, those integrations are done through 3rd party applications but we will be releasing our own automated workflows soon.

Some startups used Pipedrive to almost fully automate the process of fundraising? Can you show something?

Yes, the most popular example probably is PandaDoc. They have used Pipedrive to close a $5M Series A in 2015. As fundraising is sales, startups have prospects, they send a pitch and negotiate with those investors who qualify. Finally, PandaDoc has closed their investment deal within three months. Following some basic steps is the best advice I can give:

  • Build a great pipeline
  • Target and prioritize
  • Do follow-ups
  • Improve your pitch (deck) with data
  • Choose the right prospects to become partner.

Can you show some integrations with other services (Zapier?) that make sales process almost fully automated?

With nearly 100 different partners working with us, our users can expect to see plenty of new capabilities infused into their future Pipedrive experience. Plus, all our previous integrations will be joining this growing list as awesome apps.

Here are some examples:

With a Multi-Step Zap you can process new lead information, capture them for future marketing, and reach out with a personalized response — all at once.

The Pipedrive Power-Up automatically creates Trello cards when users start, close or move a deal to a selected stage in their sales pipeline. It also lets our users pull deal information straight into Trello from Pipedrive, ensuring automatic and faultless information handover between sales and the rest of their organisation.

To see more examples, feel free to visit our recently launched Marketplace. If you are especially interested in further information on our automation integration page, please check here.

What are Pipedrive’s plans for 2018?

For 2018 we will put strong emphasis on the German market and Europe. We take the protection of our customers’ data very seriously and it goes beyond just giving our customers our word. We already follow globally recognized best-practices to protect intellectual property, customer lists, product or sales information, but as 70% of our users are located outside of the US and with European customer base growing the fastest, it became critical to open a second Data Centre in Germany to support our growth while continuing to provide fast and secure services to our customers.

Pipedrive will start rolling out its new European Data Centre already in December 2017, hosting new customers signing-up from the European Union. In the first quarter of the 2018, Pipedrive will begin migrating its existing customers data, currently hosted by Rackspace in Chicago, United States.

This way we can guarantee our clients that we follow privacy policies and data protection practices not only to comply with the law but also with our company policy and customer expectations. So we looked at the market with tightest regulation. German data protection rules are even stricter than the GDPR, so complying with German requirements offers the best guarantee to our customers.